Appropriation: What it means, how it works, why it matters:

Have you ever woken in the middle of the night with your head swirling around ideas, obligations, unresolved questions, to-do lists, the previous day's failures, possible opportunities, possible meltdowns, etc. etc?  Me too.  It happened last night around 1am, four hours into my sleep (yes--I go to bed early, with the elderly).  Suddenly I'm wide awake, and the soothing rains of the early evening are now howling storms--a metaphor for the way the winds of worry can also roar through my mind … [Read more...]

Golden Calves come in many forms – What are today’s idols?

6:00 AM.  I’m listening to the rain, on the roof, thinking about “The Practice of the Wild” by Gary Snyder.  It’s not a book that most Christians are reading because Gary’s a Buddhist, but never mind.  I’m not interested in his Buddhism.  I’m interested in his ponderings over the intersection of old cultures and the maladies of the new because that subject touches on missions, globalism, and economics, subjects about which Christians should have Christian thoughts.  Gary, like … [Read more...]

Golden Calves come in many forms – What are today’s idols?

6:00 AM.  I’m listening to the rain, on the roof, thinking about “The Practice of the Wild” by Gary Snyder.  It’s not a book that most Christians are reading because Gary’s a Buddhist, but never mind.  I’m not interested in his Buddhism.  I’m interested in his ponderings over the intersection of old cultures and the maladies of the new because that subject touches on missions, globalism, and economics, subjects about which Christians should have Christian thoughts.  Gary, like … [Read more...]

Like snow melting…give it time

"For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, And do not return there without watering the earth And making it bear and sprout, And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater" - Isaiah 55 Sometimes it rains up here where I live in the Northwest corner of the USA.  Big wet clouds pour in off the pacific, emptying themselves in our lowland valleys with what, around this time of year, can feel like an incessant downpour.  It's why we're called the evergreen state.  It's why … [Read more...]

Crazy Confidence in a Shaky World

It's available for all of us.  It's not contingent (thank God) on circumstances.  It's able to move us, faster than a glacier, but slower than jet, towards a quietness and confidence that enables us to be people of hope. Every.  Single.  Day. I'm talking about the new covenant, which is the topic of our present sermon series at the church where I teach.  Who'd have thought that, in the midst of career crises, housing crises, financial crises, global security crises on three continents, and … [Read more...]

Shaking…And What We’ve Failed to Learn

When I turned on the radio Saturday morning and heard about the earthquake, I only heard the second half of a sentence, "...it was one of the worst earthquakes in history," as if it was something that happened decades ago.  Not until I saw the New York Times front page did a realize that this was now...and not so very far away. The recent earthquakes in undeveloped parts of China, and then in Haiti, were tragic because their poverty meant that low-grade construction left them vulnerable to the … [Read more...]

Real Freedom Found in Abstinence

I’m giving up certain foods for Lent, a part of the Christian tradition that’s not nearly as universally recognized as Christmas and Easter.  I’ll leave the historical background of this season for others to explain.  My point in writing is to ponder this simple question: What’s gained by abstaining from a certain food, or from Facebook, or  TV, or reading blogs (please no!) for a season? It’s a good question.  In fact, Colossians 2:20-23 says, “If you have died with Christ to … [Read more...]

For…

I grow weary...very weary, of the Christian marketing machine, of doctrinal grenades tossed into theological foxholes, as if the biggest enemy is the one whose faith in the resurrected Jesus is nuanced different than our own.  Walking down the streets of Seattle years ago, I encountered a man who was distributing Bibles and leaflets, inviting people to know Christ.  When he offered me a Bible I held up my hand and said, "No thanks, I have several already.  I'm a believer." He turned and … [Read more...]


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